European Film Awards: the winners

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Find out the winners, losers and general gossip from this year's European Film Awards

There were no great surprises at the Twentieth European Film Awards in Berlin on December 1, where Helen Mirren walked away (via recorded message) with an award for ‘The Queen’, the Romanian film ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days’ continued its Cannes success by picking up Best Film and Best Director for Cristian Mungiu, and, most predictably of all, Jean-Luc Godard failed to turn up to collect a lifetime achievement award.

Wim Wenders , the president of the European Film Academy (EFA) – resplendent in a two-toned, wide-lapelled jacket and sporting a pony-tail – was visibly upset when he announced to the packed arena in Berlin’s Kreuzberg that Godard would not be at the ceremony to collect his honour – despite previously agreeing to attend.

‘You seemed happy about it at first’, Wenders lamented on-stage, directly addressing Godard and clearly assuming that the director of ‘Le Mepris’ , ‘Pierrot Le Fou’ and ‘Alphaville’, was watching the event from the comfort of his home in Rolle, Switzerland.

‘But you chose not to come. This is obviously not the right moment in your life. We wanted to award your body of work, not make a song and dance about it. Nobody else has the same guts, the same cinematic intelligence.’

Godard had appeared days earlier on the French television channel, Arte, explaining that he wouldn’t be attending the event because nobody cared about his work or watched his films any more.

Despite being denied the frisson of an appearance by Godard, the audience was treated to a fantastic display by Australian cinematographer Chris Doyle, who presented a lifetime achievement award to the German cinematographer Michael Ballhaus but not before stealing the limelight in incredible fashion.

Doyle leapt on to the stage, microphone in hand, and spent an eternity ignoring the script (‘fuck the script!’), running around the platform, shaking hands with the house-band, The Leningrad Cowboys leaping into the audience and generally making absolutely no sense whatsoever. Finally, he handed the award over to Ballhaus – and forgot to announce his name.

Also taking full advantage of his moment in the spotlight was the 99-year-old Portuguese director, Manoel de Oliveira, who joined a number of other white-haired stalwarts of the EFA on the stage to mark the 20th anniversary of the awards. De Oliveira spoke and spoke and spoke (in French, so unfortunately we can’t report the details…)…and spoke some more, until Wenders did what everybody else in the audience was wishing for and interrupted De Oliveira to wish him a happy 100th birthday for next Tuesday.

Other highlights included Liv Ullmann recalling the time when Bergman and Antonioni met in Rome during the 1960s – their only meeting; the mild antagonism between hosts French actress Emmanuelle Béart (who frequently forgot to speak English, the lingua franca of the event) and German actor Jan Josef Liefers; and, again, Liv Ullmann tellling Liefers, ‘I’m Norweigan’, when asked to say something in Swedish during a tour of notables by Liefers, who was asking people to say something in their own language.

Other winners included Fatih Akin for Best Screenwriter for ‘The Edge of Heaven’, Sasson Gabai for Best Actor for ‘The Band’s Visit’ , and Frank Griebe for Best Cinematographer for ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’.

Author: Dave Calhoun



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